Susan McGeown

Author, Speaker, & Teacher

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On Being Thanksful

Posted by Susan McGeown on December 23, 2017 at 9:20 PM

I was raised in a Christian home: Sunday school every Sunday, church service on Sunday night, prayer meeting on Wednesday evenings. I made a profession of faith at the age ofe ight and still at my current age of fifty-two it stands out as the defining moment for me spiritually.

 


By my early twenties, I had an education, a career, a job, and had even published a book … but God had not let me achieve the one thing in life that I really, truly wanted: a husband and a family. Although I was fortunate to have my parent’s marriage to use as a standard, it set the bar very high. In addition, I struggled mightily with my self worth. In fact, were it not for my faith, I would have probably had zero self esteem, zero self confidence, and zero direction in my life.

 


I had long term relationships with all my boyfriends – four years, three years, six years – and each one ended with me feeling used, foolish, and heartbroken. Why couldn’t I find a man who loved me as much as I loved him?! Why was God holding this back from me? During one of those difficult times, my mother brought me up short with this statement: “You know you are supposed to be thankful in all things.” I remember being furious with her pious comment. Was she nuts?! I was supposed to be thrilled that I was alone? Appreciative that I had just wasted another three years of my life with the wrong man?

 


God was so very tolerant of me. In my angry, lonely, miserable state I started sarcastically thanking Him for ridiculous things. “Thanks that I’m an elementary school teacher, God. I’ll never meet a man there.” “Thanks that I’m still single.” “Thanks that the guy I dated last night was such a loser.” “Thanks that I’m twenty-six and still living home with my parents.” You get the picture. It became a bitter, endless litany in my head.

 


And then it happened. One day, I caught myself thinking, “Oh, that’s why that had to happen…” I found myself thinking that again and again. Gradually, I started to say, “Thanks for that, Lord,” with a hesitant, intrigued attitude that maybe, just maybe, I would actually be truly thankful in the future.

 


My walk of faith has progressed to the point that now, when things are really, really bad I gasp out – sometimes through my tears – “Thanks, Lord!” I now mean it with all my heart because I know without a shadow of a doubt that no matter how bad things appear that my Lord has gone ahead of me and prepared my path. The change of attitude has helped me find opportunities to thank God in the midst of my mother’s brain tumor surgery and my youngest sister’s battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. (Outstanding doctors, kind nurses, health insurance, supportive friends, life saving medicines …;) At the risk of sounding a bit … odd … I actually feel a bit invincible now.

 


Why did God make me wait? Well, in retrospect, it was obvious I needed a severe attitude adjustment regarding being thankful in all things, that’s for sure. During the remaining single years, I came to appreciate exactly what the Lord had already blessed me with. ‘If you’re not thankful for what you’ve got, you not likely to be thankful for what you’re going to get.’[i] Is that ever a true statement! By the time that I began to date the man that I would eventually marry, I was seriously content with the concept of never marrying. I’d gone back to school for my doctorate and aspired to teach college courses to future teachers. When I finally began to appreciate at all that God had helped me accomplished in my twenties, I couldn’t wait to see what He had in store for my thirties. Who knew what He could help me do over the course of my whole life?

 


One last thing. Never forget that God has a sense of humor and can accomplish anything He sees fit to do. Remember that list of sarcastic, bitter things I listed earlier? It is important for you to know that I was introduced to my husband (we just celebrated twenty years married this year) by one of my fourth grade students. We married just three months shy of my thirty-first birthday and he was absolutely worth the wait.


 

[i]Frank A. Clark

Categories: Empowerment, Prayer

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